Delhi also called New Delhi is the capital city of India. The origin of this ancient city can be traced to around 400BC when the legendary Pandavas lived there. In those days, the area was called Indraprastha.
Over centuries, Delhi was ruled by several kings and emperors, including Mohammad Ghori, Ibrahim Lodhi, Mohammad Ghazni, Tughlaqs and Khiljis.
Emperor Ashoka of the Maurya dynasty, who ruled from Patliputra (Patna) also held sway over Delhi.
Several Rajput prince and kings had their kingdoms stretching to Delhi but it was only after the Mughals that Delhi gained its true significance as the capital of India. Later, British colonials ruled over Delhi.
Delhi – A Visitor’s Delight
Thanks to this myriad history, Delhi has a special significance for every tourist- domestic and foreign. The city is a blend of the ancient and the modern.
The confluence of people from all states of India, make it a truly cosmopolitan city. This is significant since a tourist can indulge in culinary delights from various Indian cuisines.
Getting around Delhi and New Delhi is easy since the city is well served by state-run buses, rickshaws, taxis and the Delhi Metro. It is also easily accessible by bus and train from almost every part of India.
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However, a newcomer can be overwhelmed by what to see in Delhi and New Delhi. Here are some not-to-be-missed tourist attractions of this sprawling city and its vicinity. Now we discuss 15 best places to visit in Delhi.
15 Best Places to Visit in Delhi
1. India Gate
New Delhi is most famous for this landmark, The India Gate. In fact, it is one of the most visited places in India.
This is a memorial to over 80,000 Indian soldiers martyred during World War-1. India Gate is also famous because it lies on the Rajpath, where the ceremonial Republic Day Parade is held on January 26 every year.
India Gate also features an Amar Jawan memorial, where troops from Indian Army, Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force are commemorated.
So, If you are in Delhi and want to visit one place then Indian Gate is surely not to be missed, it is undoubtedly the best place to visit in Delhi.
Rajghat is one the most significant mausoleum in India and a Major tourist attraction of Delhi.
There are no tombs at Rajghat but ashes of the Father of The Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, independent India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and other prominent leaders are commemorated at this monument.
The place also serves as an apt reminder of sacrifices made by India’s freedom fighters in getting the country liberated from oppressive British rule.
3. Red Fort or Lal Qilla
Built around 1650 by Emperor Shahjehan, the Red Fort or Lal Qilla served both, a fortress and palace for Mughal emperors for almost two centuries.
The Red Fort features on the list of UNESCO monuments and is famous worldwide.
No trip to Delhi is complete without a visit to this imposing fort, which derives its name from the distinct reddish pigment that paints its exterior walls.
Despite centuries, the external walls, ramparts and interiors of the Red Fort have been well maintained, thanks to efforts by the Indian government.
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4. Qutb Minar
Another Popular place to visit in Delhi is Qutub Minar which is Acclaimed as the second tallest ‘minar’ or tower in India.
The Qutb Minar is also a UNESCO Heritage Site. Interestingly the first mosques to be built in India is the one built around this tower.
Qutb Minar has a seven-meter iron pillar in its courtyard which has a fascinating legend attached. The tower was erected around 1190AD and 1220AD.
The effort and ancient technology used to construct this monument are indeed mind-boggling.
It is named after ancient Islamic ruler, Qutbuddin Aibak, who also founded the Delhi Sultanate.
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5. Tomb of Humayun
Anyone well versed in the Mughal history of India knows about Humayun, one of the founders of the Mughal rule in India.
He was the son of Emperor Babar, who first entered India from Farghana and later ruled India.
Humayun is also the father of the great Mughal emperor Akbar. The Tomb of Humayun can also be called a garden thanks to its well-manicured lawns and flowering shrubs and bushes.
It also serves as a mausoleum to several other Mughal rulers. The Tomb of Humayun is a history lover’s delight since almost every area of the monument has a rich legend.
6. Lodhi Gardens
Descendents of Ibrahim Lodhi, who invaded India and later ruled large swathes of the country lie buried here.
However, this monument is better known for its picturesque gardens rather than the final resting place of rulers of the Lodhi dynasty.
It is spread over an area of nearly 100 acres and features breathtaking architecture that dates back to 15th century AD
7. Tomb of Safdarjung
The Tomb of Safdarjung was built just around the time when the Mughal influence was waning, following the arrival of colonials and weaker rulers after Emperor Aurangzeb.
It is 1756, it is an apt memorial for one of the stalwart statesman of the Mughal empire, Sajdarjung.
This monument is reputed for its gardens and a rather romantic ambience, despite being nestled in the hustle and bustle of modern Delhi.
8. Tughlaqabad Fort
While we are still in historical parts of Delhi, a visit to Tughlaqabad Fort is worth the while.
The fort is fairly well maintained and offers a panoramic view of sorts to visitors.
The Tughlaqabad Fort also serves as an ideal picnic spot for domestic and foreign travellers and you can spend hours at this monument, exploring the grandeur of ancient India.
9. Rashtrapati Bhavan
Here resides the First Citizen of India or, the President. Visitors are allowed inside the sprawling Rashtrapati Bhavan on weekends, subject to security conditions.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan owes its magnificent architecture and wonderful Mughal-style gardens to ancient builders.
It was later used as the palace of the British governor of India before the foreign rulers were evicted from this country.
10. Bahai Temple/ Lotus Temple
One more best place to visit in Delhi, The Bahia Temple or Lotus Temple is shaped like a lotus flower in bloom. Several visitors liken its architecture to that of the Opera House in Sydney, Australia, though the styles used are rather distinct.
Here, tourists from every faith and following are permitted to worship. However, the sole condition is, visitors have to maintain absolute silence inside this temple.
The Lotus Temple is a true delight for the spiritual minded since one can actually sense the presence of some divine power.
11. Baba Bangla Sahib Gurudwara
Also for the spiritual minded, New Delhi has another treat to offer- the Baba Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, a very sacred shrine of the Sikh community.
Visitors here are courteously greeted by ushers. Once inside, you can hear the chanting of hymns and devotional songs that transport you instantly into a world of peace, serenity and tranquillity.
Outside, you can buy souvenirs including ‘kadhas’ or the traditional metal bangle worn by followers of the Sikh community as well as other mementoes to take home.
A word of caution: Visitors who have consumed alcohol or carrying tobacco products can be denied entry into the shrine. However, they are politely ushered to a waiting area while their sober companions complete their visit.
12. Chandni Chowk
Shop, shop till you drop is what Chandni Chowk has to offer.
With myriad stores and street-side stalls, visitors to Chandni Chowk can buy anything at bargain rates- from handicrafts to traditional readymade garments at wholesale and retail rates. Bargaining here is customary but beware of the quality.
Chandni Chowk is also a gourmet’s delight as nearby lanes offer delectable vegetarian and non-vegetarian food typical to northern India. This is one of the best places to visit in Delhi for all the shopaholics.
13. India International Exhibition Center
Located in heart of the capital is the India International Exhibition Centre. This centre, spread over several acres, plays host almost round the year to various major trade shows.
If you are in business, wish to promote your company or simply network with others from your industry, the IIEC is the best place to visit.
Very often, there are more than one trade shows held at the expo centre, since it boasts of some of the most modern amenities.
The expo centre is a fun place to visit and learn about advances in different fields- from cookery to defence.
14. Purana Qilla and National Park
The Purana Qilla or old fort dates back to Mughal times. It is an ideal hangout for those who love the thrill, since the dark interiors can sometimes send a chill up your spine.
However, the National Zoological Park adjoining the fort is also a lovely touristic place, where one can view hyenas and other animals.
Walking around the wildlife park is fair enough but you can also hire battery fueled vehicles to take short drives if you are so inclined.
Food in Delhi
In all fairness, Paharganj area is perhaps the best area for a gourmet. Here, street side restaurants, that open as early as 5 am and remain open till midnight,
offer a variety of cuisine from almost every part of India.
Dining in New Delhi can be fairly inexpensive provided you stay off office areas such as Connaught Place.